Student elections in universities are typically not as thrilling as, say, a White House election — but some genius students at the University of Michigan might be trying to change that. According to The Detroit Free Press, some University of Michigan students are trying to elect a corgi as student government president by organizing a Facebook campaign to get voters to write in his name on the ballet. And it's not just any corgi, either: It's Reggie Bee, a robust corgi and an unofficial communal therapy dog to the students. He is, suffice to say, a big hit within the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus.
When you think about it, this makes sense. The dog, who has a fan Facebook page with 5,000 friends (apparently, the limit for Facebook friends), is a iconic figure at the university — and in a time when elections have been synonymous with such bad news, it's no surprise that students are trying to change the electoral vibe on campus. Sure, Reggie Bee isn't actually on the ballot, but he's got nearly 1,000 people supporting his faux campaign on Facebook, and his non-human status hasn't deterred students from boasting about his qualifications. In a Facebook post from "Reggies'" fan page:
"Why is Reggie Bee the most qualified CSG candidate? For months, Reggie has been interacting with students across campus. Students feel comfortable around Reggie, and he always manages to bring smiles to their faces. But most importantly, Reggie isn't visiting with students to gain their votes, he does it because seeing students happy is what he loves more than anything else. #ReggieBee4CSG"
If you've ever been on a campus during student election season, this post makes sense: Classically, students who are running for office make extra efforts to meet and interact with other students to earn their good graces and secure a vote. As the post maintains, Reggie Bee is not doing this (probably because he is a corgi who doesn't realize he's now an official poster-child for the U-M student government revolution).
And while he likely won't actually win a spot in the student government, he's certainly secured his place in the spotlight and perhaps made the students think a bit more about what we can learn from him — which is that genuine, non-transactional interactions are invaluable on campus and something that all students should strive for. A little schmoozing before an election is a permissible, but students should remain engaged and aware of each other throughout the year, too. We all know how hard it can be to make friends in college, so wouldn't it be nice if students were as invested in getting to know each other like they do during the elections, during the rest of the year?
Michael P. Sola, Reggie Bee's true owner, talked to the school's news channel about the pup's special relationship with the students, saying "For a brief moment they forget their problems and they're happy with Reggie, so that's therapy. They thank me for bringing him down to the campus, so we call him 'Campus Corgi'." That said, you probably won't be surprised to see that students have even taken it upon themselves to create not just fan pages, but videos of the dog:
College campuses are experimenting more with therapy dogs, as studies show that giving students access to a therapy dog can increase their mood and decrease their stress level, which is particularly beneficial during difficult testing times. The University of British Columbia recently did a study which reveled that a few minutes petting or playing with a therapy dog gave students energy, a positive shift in thinking, and increased social interest for hours after the interaction. So while Reggie Bee might not be taking over student affairs anytime soon, he and his fans are doing a great job of promoting the benefits of having a service dog on campus.